In case you missed it: the point of the election was the recognition that we, as a nation, are failing at the equitable distribution of compensation for work (“profit”). The obsessive (demonic) need of C-Suites to aggregate (purposeless) money is called “greed”. The worker’s unwillingness to put personal capital at risk for the corporate good (“skin in the game”, investing) is also called “greed”.
“Prophets” call for the just distribution of compensation for work; this is known as “righteousness”. (They also call for the protection of the vulnerable).
In the beginnings of the early churches, greed, one of the opposites of righteousness, was a challenge:
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you. James 5:1-6 NIVUK
Jesus taught and warned that we cannot serve two masters; we can either serve God (which he said we express by loving one another) or we can serve Mammon (the obsessive accumulation of power and stuff to a degree harmful to humanity, our “sisters” and “brothers”).
James noted that our Mammon worship, unchecked, eventually leads to war (collective use of violence to gather booty).
James knew we do not like to admit the shame and guilt we feel when collect wealth at the expense of others — and so we do not pray to God for our needs. We know if we pray, his Holy Spirit will convict our hearts that our ways need to change in the direction of generosity toward one another.
From time to time we need to reflect on how our actions (and our inactions) harm one another. This is called “mourning our sins”. It is often accomplished by a setting a special time to reflect (often collectively as a group or in groups). This is referred to as a “fast” or “a day of mourning”.
During such a time, we review the compassionate actions of God toward us in the past, we admit if we have failed to be grateful, and we purpose to do better in the future. This is called “repentance”.
Harsh reality #1: not everyone wants to repent.
Harsh reality #2: worshiping Mammon isn’t just a mental decision to be indifferent toward humanity; it is the first step toward the destruction of humanity (more on that later; see also, yes, Virginia, there is an Adversary). There are those who choose to be filled with the Unholy Spirit, the “perfectly possessed”. The perfectly possessed often rise into positions of power. They are not out for humanity’s good. To check this danger, Paul of Tarsus wrote:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Paul’s advise is neither capricious nor superfluous. Leaders and followers of every type need spiritual assistance. This includes global corporate c-suites, the leadership councils of worker collectives, the heads of family businesses, those in government positions of responsibility and bureaucracy, etc.
When we pray for one another, we fulfill a role called “priest” (intercessor [standing in the gap]). When we encourage one another toward acting authentically and compassionately, we fulfill a role called “prophet”.
Harsh reality #3: Not every nation appreciates priests and prophets.
Harsh reality #4: No nation lasts forever.
Question: For whom are you praying today?
Suggested prayer: Heavenly Father, please reveal to us knowledge and insights into generosity. May we see it in your daily actions toward us (your steadfast lovingkindness), those of your King (Yeshua of Nazareth) during his days of earthly ministry, and those of the Holy Spirit working among those who seek to obediently trust you, both individually and in congregations and their alliances. May we discern that many we meet learned their behaviors during childhoods filled with trauma and hatred and that those scars run very deep and our society refuses to acknowledge them. Help us to grant each other mercy and the benefit of the doubt – remembering that we are all “playing hurt” – and that if we are still alive – you are not finished conforming us to the image of your Beloved Son, Yeshua. In whose name we pray.
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I appreciate when #realtheologick and #realeconomick occur. I saw this presentation after writing the above post.
A Moral Challenge to Economists, New Economic Thinking, Streamed live on Nov 11, 2016
In his keynote address to our economics of race conference in Detroit last week, Rev. Dr. William Barber II issued a blistering critique of structural inequality in the United States, and urged economists to recognize their responsibility to the poor.